Advertisement

Getting Started with Mindfulness for Kids


There is an emerging body of science that suggests that doing mindfulness practices with kids can help increase focus and awareness and improve emotional regulation. I’m pretty confident that we could all benefit from having calmer, more aware kids, and these are skills that will benefit them for years to come. But how in the world are you supposed to help a child enthusiastically engage in a calm “awareness” practice when they won’t even sit still for five seconds?

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Have realistic expectations. You can’t expect your five year old to sit for a 10 minute meditation. If you do, you are setting yourself and your kid up for failure. Recognize your child’s gifts, limitations, and personal interests and build a practice around those things. Also, use age appropriate language to talk about mindfulness. A little kid may not know what it means to be mindful, but they probably know what it means to pay attention.
  • Keep it simple & change it up. Don't over-think it. Incorporating mindfulness can be as easy asking your child to list 3 things they can hear. The best part is, there are a ton of excellent resources available on the internet. Try new ideas to find what works well for your kids and let go of what doesn’t work for them.
  • Create a regular practice, but be flexible. Like any new habit or thing we want to cultivate in our lives and in our kids, it takes consistency. You can’t teach your kids to eat healthy by asking them to take a bite of an apple one time and you can’t cultivate mindfulness by doing one exercise. Be consistent, but recognize when to let it go. Like all good things, sometimes it doesn’t go how we hoped and it just isn’t worth the fight.

Here are some simple exercises to get you started:

  • Practice Gratitude. Each day, perhaps at dinner or bedtime, ask your kids to name one thing they were grateful for in the day. This forces them to reflect on the day and find something positive in it.
  • Take a mindfulness walk. Go for a walk in your neighborhood and ask your child to try and notice as many bugs, animals, and birds as they can. This will help them to focus on the details of their environment and stay present.  
  • Breathe with a buddy. Have your child lay on their back. Place a stuffed animal on their belly and have them watch it move up and down as they breathe for one minute. This practice will slow their breathing and help them to be aware of their bodies.

At first, doing these practices may seem a little forced and awkward, but with a little time and consistency, you will notice the awareness you are teaching in these structured moments is carrying over into your child’s everyday life. The ability to slow down and be more aware will help them navigate relationships, school, and tough emotions more effectively so it’s well worth the effort and the little bit of awkwardness you may have to endure to get them started on the journey.

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

20 Sep 2017


By Mandy Cowley

Recent Articles more articles

Primary, Urgent, or Emergency Care? When and How to Make the Call

in Health and Wellness

When should you make an appointment with your doctor? How “urgent” is urgent care? Is it time to go to the emergency room?

Manners of the Heart

in Local Profile

She began going to lunch, armed with red paper napkins and silly puppets with spaghetti-filled mouths, to teach the children basic table manners, how to write thank-you notes, and how to have respect for one another.

A Christmas Life Hack

in A Day in the Life of Dad

A Christmas Life Hack I may not be liked very much for this idea, but that’s okay, I can live with it. This all starts every time I walk around my house and see toys on top of toys and stuff on top of stuff. What I am talking about is all the thin

Featured Listings more listings

Catholic High School

in Private Schools

Catholic High's holistic approach to education builds a community spirit that is characterized by Christian values, an orderly and disciplined atmosphere, a personal approach to education and a commitment to academic excellence.

LA Arts

in Day Camps

LA ARTS is happy to hold its second year of Summer Camps. We strive for creativity! Whether you like to act, sing, paint, or draw—we have what you're looking for. Our classes range from ages 5 to adult, with accommodations for all skill levels.

Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School

in Private Schools

The mission of Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School is to minister to the educational needs of our parish family by providing a teaching atmosphere which promotes gospel values and academic excellence for our students.

St. Michael the Archangel High School

in Private Schools

St. Michael High School is co-educational, grades 9-12, for students who are seeking a comprehensive, college preparatory, Catholic education. SMHS promotes rigorous academics and celebrates participation and successes in all areas of student life.

Advertisement
Newsletter